Olusegun Ariyo

Traditional institutions in the country led by the sultan of Sokoto and President-General of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar 111 have tasked the federal government on insecurity saying bandits may overrun the country if adequate measure is not taken

 The Sultan spoke in Abuja at the third quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Interreligious Council tasked the Federal Government to identify and deal decisively with those inciting individuals and groups against the peace and security of the country.

According to him, where comments by leaders constitute an imminent threat to the security of lives and property, such individuals must be arrested and prosecuted.

He issued the warning against the backdrop of a viral video by a popular Islamic cleric in Zaria, who vowed that there would be reprisals over the recent killing of 22 travellers in Jos, Plateau State, along ethnic and religious lines.

While lamenting the level of insecurity in the land, Abubakar said it had become a worrisome situation that the security agencies were unable to demystify the so-called “unknown gunmen,” who raid communities and institutions, kill unarmed citizens and abduct scores of people unchallenged.

He said, “How can people, who do these things, be unknown? Where are our intelligence agencies? Don’t we have a proactive intelligence agency that will think ahead of the bandits?

“In eastern Sokoto alone, there was a day we buried 76 persons, who were killed in cold blood by criminals who came from ‘nowhere. There was another day we buried 48 persons in the same Sokoto, but you didn’t hear about it.

“All the people committing such atrocities must be identified. The security agencies must up their game, find them and take action on this kind of carnage. If we start doing so, all this carnage we see in this country will stop.”

The Sultan called on the President to convene and chair a national dialogue on the challenges facing the country with a view to designing lasting ways to solve them.

He stated, “What is so difficult in the Presidency leading a national dialogue? Why are we afraid of talking to one another in a dialogue? What dialogue cannot solve, violence cannot solve it either.

“So, I think it’s high time we put aside ethnic and religious sentiments and told ourselves the truth that what is happening in this country is not right. This is the way we should go if we really want to have a country.  The President should lead the way in this.”

Meanwhile the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Samson Ayokunle,  equally condemned the violence in Plateau State, saying that a situation where crimes were painted in religious, ethnic or political colours rather than condemnation was a source of concern to many Nigerians.

Ayokunle, who co-chairs the NIREC with the Sultan, emphasized that criminals had found it easier to shield themselves with ethnic and religious cover to escape or be emboldened to commit more crimes.

3 “Nigerians are worried about the state we are in. It is extremely frightening. It is time for us to unanimously condemn this criminality without any sentiment,” he stressed.

The Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said those who spread inciting messages, which fanned toxic ideas that sparked the recent crisis in Jos and its environs, were people outside the state.

“The past few weeks in Plateau have been very challenging as we have witnessed a resurgence of attacks on innocent citizens, leading to the loss of many lives and destruction of properties,” he said.

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